St. Edward's still going strong at 100

By Michelle Martin | Staff writer
Sunday, January 16, 2011

In 1910, four Springfield Dominican sisters arrived on the Northwest Side of Chicago to take charge of the new school at St. Edward Parish. Three were classroom teachers; the fourth taught music.

A century later, an extensive music program still flourishes at St. Edward School, 4343 W. Sunnyside Ave., and members of its two orchestras and chorus will participate in a centennial anniversary Mass to be celebrated by Cardinal George Feb. 20.

Springfield Dominican Sister Marie Michelle Hackett, the school’s principal, is one of three members of her congregation still on staff. The faculty also includes a School Sister of Notre Dame.

Also on staff are nine music teachers, several of whom come in to offer lessons on instruments from the guitar to the drums.

The music program is one thing that helped keep the school’s enrollment at a healthy level, with 350 students this year.

The school opened 11 years after the Viatorians founded the parish. When it started, it had 200 students in the academic program and 65 music students. It was popular enough that the Springfield Dominican congregation had to send a fifth sister to assist, Sister Marie Michelle said.

In the decades following World War II, the school’s enrollment swelled to more than 1,000, taught by 22 sisters, Sister Marie Michelle said. They took up every inch of the school building at Sunnyside and Lowell, the gym and primary school building on the opposite corner and four mobile units.